Range/Geographical Distribution: Along the coastal plain from Virginia to Texas.
Habitat: Well-drained, sandy areas with other trees including oak, dogwood, blackgum, sweetgum, persimmon, and sassafras.
Description: An evergreen conifer with scaly bark and 8-18 inch needles.
Size: A mature tree may reach a height of 100 to 120 feet.
Breeding: Begins to reproduce at 30 years of age and 10 inches in diameter. The six to eight inch cones usually contain about 35 winged seeds. The seeds germinate in one to two weeks, seedlings are initially stem-less, and production of branches occurs after the seeding reaches at least ten feet in height.
Predators/Ecological Function: Longleaf pine forests are a habitat for many bird species as well as deer, gopher tortoises, and squirrels. Birds and small mammals eat the pine seeds and old pine trees provide a nesting habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Conservation Status: The longleaf pine is not an endangered species but many endangered plant and animal species can be found in longleaf pine communities. In Texas, these communities are considered threatened by the Texas Natural Heritage Program. It is estimated that longleaf communities once covered 90 million acres but now only cover 5-10 million acres in the United States.
Interesting Facts: Longleaf pines can hybridize with the loblolly pine and the slash pine. These trees may live four or five centuries. The longleaf pine is fire-resistant and fires help reduce competition from other trees as well as help seeds germinate by exposing the soil.
On the Coast: Current longleaf pine communities are mostly found on private hunting plantations and military land although this type of forest was the dominant woodland in coastal Georgia before European settlement